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Is it good or bad to follow iPhone native look and feel in design of mobile Websites?

I'm making Mobile website for Smartphones (iPhone, iPod Touch, Android, BlackBerry, Windows 7 Mobile) but the UI is inspired by iPhone UI. But website can be seen on other mobiles too

So it is good or it can be confusing for user?

Edit: These are some example of sites which are using iphone like UI

http://m.ua.edu/i/

http://iweathr.com/iweathr/ (open in iphone)

And this is example of website which is not following iPhone UI

http://www.kelseyads.com/site.php/mobile/

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4 Answers

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Only if your users are iPhone users otherwise it will best to design keeping in mind that users could be visiting your site using any smart-phones. Apart from ensuring the site works on various modes (landscape/portrait) etc, it will be good to check for accessibility compliance as well. There is a rise in the users with challenges using smart phones against Web on pc/mac

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I'm sorry, but it's a myth that iPhone styles have "set the rules of UX on mobile". They have put a lot of budget behind marketing and they've created a loyal following of app developers.

But it's extremely important to remember that they have a relatively small market share.

See here: Guardian article

and here: Global smartphone penetration by region

Symbian has a huge market share and when it's gone Windows will probably take its place.

Designing your mobile site for iPhone is like designing solely for Internet Explorer. Not only is it bad practice in the short term, it helps to establish bad practices going forward.

If you're looking for a starting point in terms of styling, it's worth looking at the Sencha or Jquery Mobile libraries.

Building a W3C widget using Phonegap allows you to create one build that ports to multiple platforms. Users' devices will interpret the code accordingly.

No one is going to "set the rules". Strive to deliver interfaces that meet user and business requirements and your products will stand a good chance of succeeding.

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Sencha or jQuery Mobile frameworks are based on iPhone UI. What I'm saying is: the iPhone's style back-button located at top-left header bar is becoming a standard. iPhone's lists style are becoming a standard. Same for the dropdown-roulette-style menu. And so on. So using theses kind of components (which are present in most libraries) will satisfy most of your user's mobile experience. And yes some "set the rules". We called them Influencers. –  Marc D Apr 21 '11 at 8:04
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We're mulling this over as well. Not a direct answer, but things to consider:

  • making the Web UI look native to the device can help users intuit a lot of the interactions
  • making the Web UI look native to the device can also be frustrating if the web UI doesn't quite pull it off to the same level as the native device
  • web apps tend to be significantly slower than native due to network lag. Sometimes native UIs don't accommodate this lag very well.
  • Not everyone uses an iPhone. And iPhone web UI on a blackberry could be odd.
  • Most mobile UIs suck compared to the iPhone, so maybe having the iPhone UI on all is a good thing.
  • Remember that not everyone is using a touch device. Many that are touch devices still have physical keyboards that people may be using, so be sure to accommodate that scenario as well.
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The answer is quite simple.

iPhone has set the rules of UX on mobile. The other players are followers.

The main differences between the 2 big player (iOS & Android) are finally the buttons (menu & back) and long-tap actions.

So that say, how does your mobile app needs theses actions? The back action is the one you can't cope with. And you can't make dedicated UI for devices with buttons or without. So you'll need to have a back button. And it has to be in the iPhone-style.

Would you change the standard when designing a web-page? would you put the search bar at the top-left corner?

PS: I'm not talking about texture & graphic design, but about the layout and interactions

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Yeah, rewind ten years and people would say the same about IE6 on the desktop. Look how we're still paying for that decision today. I hate how so many Android apps ported from iOS totally ignore the menu and back buttons at the bottom of the screen that's been standard on all Android phones and position them on top. How hard is it to follow platform conventions? –  Rex Jul 13 '12 at 6:49
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